Innovation Exchange

Empty Homes Purchasing Scheme

Introduction

Key activities

Benefits and impacts

Learning

The Empty Home Purchase Scheme plays a vital role in assisting households most in need to achieve a sustainable housing solution by increasing the supply of social rented housing across North Lanarkshire through the purchase of empty private sector properties and bringing them back into use as Council housing.  The scheme has the added benefit of assisting regeneration in areas where properties are causing blight to an area, restoring confidence in local property markets  and demonstrates value for money.   As at March 2016 forty three empty properties have been brought into use at a net cost to of under £2m.

 

The aim is to increase supply of Council housing by bringing empty properties, in areas of housing need, back into use, improve amenity, potential to improve health, potential to assist with regeneration and to assist individuals and communities to improve their situation by providing a service that is customer focused. Implementation of the scheme has provided some empty home owners with a solution to their situation and has resulted in a number of properties that had previously been subject to multi-agency interventions being brought into use and managed by the Council, eliminating the anti-social and property blight issues that had previously surrounded them.

 

Theme: Housing and Regeneration

north lanarkshire council

The key activities were:

 

  • Assess applications against eligibility criteria
  • SHQS Surveys and Property Valuations
  • Budget Monitoring
  • Committee Reports
  • Conveyancing
  • Void Works
  • Allocations

The scheme has enabled provision of affordable housing in areas of most need and demonstrated value for money.  Measurement of impact for the Council is done through reporting and budget monitoring.  The impact the scheme has on reducing pressure for social housing can be measured through the Pressure Analysis on an annual basis.  It is expected to have a positive impact on Council stock by enabling common major works on existing stock where the empty home forms part of a mixed tenure block .

 

In many instances properties have caused significant blight to an area and been the location of anti-social behaviour, bringing them back into use has community benefits.  The impact of bringing  properties into Council ownership, management and use mean resources from Fire Service, Police Service, Anti-Social Task Force and Environmental Services can be re-directed and targeted to areas where they are needed.  The impact on local communities has been positive with residents in surrounding areas enjoying the benefit of properties being maintained and lived in.  Where appropriate, owners have benefited from advice and assistance from CAB which has improved their overall wellbeing.

 

The scheme has therefore had a positive impact in contributing to recovery of the housing market across North Lanarkshire.  In the first year of the EHPS (2013/14) there was an expectation to bring 10 empty properties back into use, due to unforeseen conveyancing issues the Council brought 7 properties into use in year one with the remaining 3 completing in April 2014.  During 2014/15 the Council originally expected to bring 15 properties into use but additional funding was allocated which allowed the total in 2014/15 purchased to rise to 23.    The project has delivered 12 units this year to date with a further 12 expected, it has exceeded expectations and performed extremely well.

 

The main learning was:

 

  • Changing market conditions has impacted on owners’ expectations of market value
  • Increase in owners refusing offer of market value
  • Communication between all parties and good working relationships essential for success of project

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:

 

Lee Valantine

Senior Strategy Officer

North Lanarkshire Council

01698 274556

Case study added to site: June 2016

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